Over the past several weeks, as I have been thoroughly enjoying the changing seasons here in West Michigan, I started thinking about the changing “seasons” in my life — specifically, my life pre-kids, the season of life when I could say “yes” to almost any and every request that came my way.
- Yes, I’ll officiate all the home volleyball games.
- Yes, I’ll make 6 dozen cookies and bars for the bake sale.
- Yes, I’ll be in the church choir, on the landscaping committee, on the Women’s ministry team, in multiple Bible studies, and I’ll be a Gems leader — all at the same time!
- Yes, I’ll be a budget mentor.
- Yes, I’ll stay late at work this week.
- Yes, I’ll sing in your women’s chorale.
- Yes, I’ll organize that event.
- Yes, I’ll speak for your event and lead a break-out workshop.
- Yes, I’ll come help you with yardwork or housework.
- Yes, I’ll serve on the board for your non-profit.
- Yes, I’ll join that networking group.
- Yes, I’ll host that party.
- Yes, we’ll chaperone the school prom.
- Yes, I can create a promotional flier for your event and have it delivered next week.
- Yes, I’ll volunteer for that, and that, and that, and that.
My life was full. I felt a strong sense of purpose, I felt useful, I felt productive, I felt alive!
Not only did I clearly know what my gifts and talents were, I used so many of them on a daily and weekly basis.
After Nora came along, many of my former “yeses” became regret-filled “I’m-not-sure-if-I-can-do-it-any-mores”… and eventually just straight out “nos”.
I felt so lazy, unuseful, unproductive, with no sense of purpose. I hated saying “no” every time someone asked me to help… and I hated even more when they just stopped asking all together.
And then I realized I was just in a new season of life.
My new season was one filled with new babies, small people, and all the things associated with my job as mom… and you know what, I said “yes” a whole lot more than I initially realized.
- Yes, I’ll keep the pantry and refrigerator stocked and make all your food all the time.
- Yes, I’ll wash all your clothing, towels, blankets, sheets, pillows, toys, etc.
- Yes, I’ll plan fun activities and outings for you each day.
- Yes, I’ll take you to the park, to the neighbor’s house, to your grandparent’s house to play for the afternoon
- Yes, I’ll do that craft with you.
- Yes, I’ll teach you how to crack an egg.
- Yes, I’ll bathe you every day.
- Yes, I’ll change your diaper and wipe your butt and clean up your messes every day.
- Yes, I’ll read your favorite book for the 376th time.
- Yes, I’ll find your lost toy, stuffed animal, blanket, or pacifier.
- Yes, I’ll refill your water cup.
- Yes, I’ll give you just one more kiss and hug goodnight.
- Yes, I’ll stay up all night rocking you so you can sleep even with your stuffed up nose.
My life is full. I feel a strong sense of purpose, I feel useful, I feel productive, I feel alive!
Not only did I discover a bunch of new gifts and talents, I also realized how many of them I use on a daily and weekly basis.
I may have struggled a bit to find that sense of purpose after Nora came along… but now that I’ve found it, I realize I say “yes” to a lot of other things — as long as they fit with my current season of life!
- Yes, I’ll be in charge of cleaning the church nursery every month.
- Yes, I’ll join the Bible study that provides story hour for Nora and nursery for the boys.
- Yes, we’ll participate in many of the programs at our local library.
- Yes, I’ll be the room mom for a day at Nora’s school.
- Yes, I can come along on the upcoming field trip.
- Yes, I’ll bring snacks for the story hour program.
- Yes, I’ll make you a meal and bring it over after Dave gets home from school.
- Yes, I’ll write that sponsored post.
- Yes, I’ll work as your Virtual Assistant.
- Yes, we’ll host the end-of-year staff party for Dave’s school.
- Yes, I’ll have the neighbors over for breakfast and a morning play date.
- Yes, we’ll have everyone over for dinner and I’ll make all the food.
- Yes, I’ll answer an insane number of email questions, Facebook messages, and blog comments every single day.
- Yes, I’ll go for a walk with my neighbor after the kids are in bed for the night.
Even though I freely hand out MANY “nos” when requests for my time and energy don’t match up with my current season of life, I am still able to utilize my gifts, talents, and passions with just as many “yeses” that are a better fit for me right now.
When all my kids are in school, a new season will begin again — one I’m assuming will involve putting lots of miles on our minivan driving them to and from different events, practices, games, friends, activities, etc. We’ll all participate in many school and church activities, Dave will coach them in basketball, we’ll plan family vacations, we’ll do more big kid stuff and less baby and toddler stuff..
As they reach high school, we’ll say “yes” to traveling to their sporting events, attending music concerts, shopping for prom dresses, and helping them with their homework. I’ll say “yes” to more opportunities to work or volunteer outside the home, grow my business, and help our aging parents.
Eventually we will be empty-nesters (I truly can’t even imagine this right now) and I will have more of my own time once again. I’ll say “yes” to helping my adult children decorate their own homes, plant their own gardens, and raise their own babies. I’ll say “yes” to more time with Dave and more time for myself. I’ll say “yes” to travel and friends and new hobbies and all those things I wanted to do someday.
Obviously, I’m not sure how the next 30 years of my life will play out — but I do know that I will continually make an effort to align my “yeses” with whatever season of life I’m in at the time.
This means I might say yes to one thing and no to another… and then flip flop those answers in another 5 or 10 years when I’m in a different season of life.
This also means I probably won’t feel quilty saying ‘no’ to your request because I know I said ‘yes’ to that same request 5 years ago… and I might very well say ‘yes’ to it again in another 5 years.
If you have recently felt overloaded with responsibilities, stressed out, exhausted, overwhelmed, or even just fed-up with everything on your plate, it might be time to evaluate if your “yeses” match your current season of life.
Maybe you’re trying to hold onto something you did before kids (been there!), even though you now have 4 little people requiring enormous amounts of your time and energy each day. Maybe you’re trying to hang onto all your volunteer work, even though you recently went back to work full time and just can’t figure out how to make it all work. Maybe you’re dead set on saying ‘yes’ to various family or friend traditions every year, even though these traditions no longer seem to work for you and your current season of life.
Whatever the case, I’m almost positive you will instantly feel a huge sense of relief whenever you finally decide to align your ‘yeses’ with your current season of life. Your days will be less stressful, your schedule will be less hectic, your life will be simpler.
What do you think… it can’t hurt to give it a try!
Do YOUR ‘yeses’ match your current season of life?